At the end of December Wendy, Brian and Hugh travelled to Ethiopia to review project progress. During this time they were accompanied by Hawlt, the SMMMS in-country medical coordinator

Upon arrival in Debark they went to the Hospital to view the first aid course being organised to train Park scouts and local guides. We were pleased to see that the Red Cross instructors had co-opted our SMMMS nurses into the programme to help teach the course.

Upon completion of the course participants received a Red Cross certificate in First Aid. Congratulations to all.

During the next phase SMMMS nurses will attend a Red Cross Trainers of Trainers course, which will allow them to teach Red Cross courses upon qualification.

During this time we also met with met Dr Shegaw, the head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology dept at Debark hospital. Together with Dr Zumichael, the Director of the hospital Dr Shegaw was delighted to receive additional medical books that Dr Marcus had sent along with thermometers and Doppler, a gift from SMMMS.

A key goal of this trip was to expand SMMMS’ operation into Tellempt – the most remote Woreda in the National Park. After one and a half days of tough 4X4 driving the team made it to the village of Tara where they met with local administration officials.

There are about 94,000 people in the Woreda with no road connection. There are 22 Kabela’s with 5 Health Centres.

We explained our project and they discussed their main health problems and priorities which are maternal, neonatal care and malnutrition.

The Woreda officials quickly agreed to the deployment of an SMMMS mobile/community nurse in the southern area of Tellempt. The new SMMMS nurse will arrive in January based out of the village of Betal which is an extremely remote area that lacked medical coverage. This would work out very well for us as the area borders the area covered by our Beyeda nurse.

During the trip SMMMS also met with UNDP to discuss the set up of solar panels at our clinic in Keyit.

National Park officials expressed their support for SMMMS’ efforts. We presented Simien Park Director with first aid kits, paid for by Exodus travel company which he was very happy with and requested a further 5 large first aid boxes for the camps in the mountains. The Ethiopian Red Cross has since donated 3 of the boxes to Sankabar, Gitch and Chennek.

We are also looking to tap into the Parks communications for emergency evacuation of patients from the clinic.

Finally, after much effort (and the help of a few local men) we were able to transport a water cistern with all the necessary plumbing up to our clinic in Keyit.

The hospital engineer will arrive to install the tank so that the nurses can have water out of the tap.